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  Mt. Everest 2005: The Singapore National University Team


Update: We have been resting close to 2 weeks now, and frankly some of us are getting pretty restless. The weather hasn’t been kind to us for the last one week or so, and today is one of the first good-weather days for a long time.

We decided to practice on the Ice Fall, and mimic some of the conditions we will face on our summit bid. We went to a site with ice features about 10 meters high and 30 meters long 15 minutes away from the Base Camp, where Mark Tucker, one of the main guides in the American team, had set up ropes across the entire ice section.


Traversing an ice section which mimics
that above the South Col

The section approximates the conditions above the South Col, where there is a long traverse section with fixed rope attached horizontally. Many climbers are expected to go up that section on summit day, and competence and a level head are needed to cross it safely.

We started up the section with relative ease, using our crampons and ice axe to cross gingerly like a crab while safely clipped onto the fixed rope. We also discussed possible ways of dealing with problematic people and confusing situations such as when the ropes are not properly fixed to anchors. Personal judgment comes into play at such a high altitude, where communication and actions are not taken for granted.

We also fixed up a vertical section on the wall to mimic the conditions of the famous Hillary Steps, a 15m rock climb just below the summit of Everest. Ascending the rope at an altitude above the “the Death Zone”, even when simulated, was not easy, as we had our double boots, thick mittens, oxygen masks, goggles, full-weighted packs and down suits on, which restrict our vision and movement. We replicated these conditions as much as we could at the Ice Fall, and made sure that our current system of equipment arrangement worked.

The practice took the whole morning, and we returned to Base Camp in time for lunch. We were enjoying our fried rice and juice when two Singaporean trekkers arrived at our tent. They were our director Kim Boon’s friends. It was the first time that Singaporeans had come to visit our camp during this expedition, and we welcomed them warmly.

Video Crossing the Khumbu Icefall, Nepal from the National University of Singapore 2005 Everest Expedition team. Click the picture

Dispatches

 

 

 

 

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